Thursday, June 30

 12:30 Panspermia! Meteorites as Transportation  Plaza 3
John Shea, Nicole Gugliucci, Michael Kingsley
Panspermia is the concept that the building blocks of life could have been delivered to Earth via comet or meteorite impact. Come for a panel discussing this hypothesis, and learn about the support for and against its validity.
 12:30 Photographing CVG and Beyond Crowne Plaza U
Josiah Mannion, Roger Pavelle, Kenneth Konkol, Jamie Bernstein
Learn tips on shooting at CONvergence and elsewhere. Everything from manners to technical questions answered.
12:30 The Reproducibility Problem: How Serious is it? Atrium 2
PZ Myers, Vernon McIntosh, Laura Okagaki-Vraspir, Peter Larsen, Topher Hunter (mod)
There’s been a lot of discussion about the ability to reproduce experiments, especially in the social sciences. How serious is the problem? What can be done?
3:30 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Thumbing Our Way Across Fandoms Bloomington
Cetius d’Raven (mod), Dave Romm, Beth Voigt, Lee Harris
HHGG is a radio series, a book series, a tv series, a record and a movie, all of which are different. The movie left out a lot, but added a few new wrinkles. We will discuss the similarities and our favorite versions and try not to hear any Vogon poets.
3:30 Twin Connection: Myth, Science and Confirmation Bias Atrium 3
PZ Myers, Kathryn Sullivan, Steph Montgomery, Kristin Ellis (mod), Windy Bowlsby
Cultures worldwide have different myths and legends about twins. How much can science explain? Do twins share a special connection that transcends scientific understanding? This panel will explore myths and facts about twins.
5:00 Balloon Hovercraft Plaza 2
Erich Bacher
Design and build your own mini hovercraft while learning how floating on a bed of air is a frictionless (if impractical) way of getting around. Race your friends and experiment with modifications to improve speed and control.
7:00 Health-Quantified Self Atrium 7
Maggie Schultz, Anna Waltz, Sara McAtee, Jamie Bernstein
Forget 1984; we’ve moved into a world where we constantly monitor and report on ourselves, often with wearable electronics. Is it making a difference in health? Do physicians have any idea what to do with this data?
7:00 Physics of the TARDIS Atrium 4
Lathan Murrell, Steve Manfred (mod), Ryan Consell, Renate Fiora, Dan Berliner
What laws of physics would need to be bent, broken, or worked around to make it possible to travel through time TARDIS-style? Where is the line between science and fiction in how the TARDIS uses space, including within?
8:30 Etiquette and Ethics for the 21st Century Atrium 7
Camille Griep, Cassandra Phoenix, Renate Fiora, Erika Ensign, Hal Bichel (mod)
  Why handshakes, bathing, and thank-you notes still matter, as do ethics in the digital world. Let’s discuss how we act – and interact – in a space that is both very private and very broad. In a global community, the smallest actions matter.
10:00 Gratuitous Rape in TV Edina
Melissa Olson, Olivia James, Kristina Halseth, Elizabeth Reynolds, Michael Carus (mod)
Gratuitous rape and other violence against women is used as entertainment, filler, to make a bad guy look villainous or a good guy turn heroic. We’ll discuss why this is problematic, as well as how rape and violence can be done well in fiction.
10:00 You Will Behave Yourself at My Table Atrium 3
Beth Kinderman, Jim Tigwell, Mark Redacted (mod), Eric Zawadzki, Jess Banks
  How GMs can deal with problematic behaviors of players, why they should, and what techniques they can use. As a GM, you have the power. Use it for good.
10:00 Science of Sexual Fluidity Atrium 4
Cassandra Phoenix, Ben Blanchard, Benny Vimes (mod)
  A key aspect of sexuality, gender identity, and attraction factors such as kinks is that they can be fluid and don’t necessarily reveal themselves early in life. This panel will challenge assumptions that identities must be claimed early and held for life
11:30 Tales from the IT Trenches Plaza 3
Ben Blanchard, Daren Johnson (mod), Ross Conklin, Amy Fischer, Erich Bacher
  Panelists share their stories of IT implementations gone wrong – and right.
11:30 Achieving Sci-Fi Utopia Edina
Jim Tigwell, Celia Yost, Jamie Bernstein (mod), Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson
  How do we bridge the gap between the great future we are so good at imagining and the seemingly intractable current political climate?


Friday, July 1

9:30 Dinotopia! Edina
Erich Bacher, Matt Kuchta, Adam J. Whitlatch, Melissa Olson
Dinosaurs are everywhere in film in TV, from the Flintstones to Jurassic World and the Good Dinosaur. Come discuss the variations in portrayal. Which films and shows get the most right? Which are not even close? Do the changing depictions reflect society?
9:30 Space Elevators: How Realistic Are They? Atrium 7
Tom Kastan (mod), Ryan Consell, Katie Dahl, Dan Berliner, Elle Kennedy Cadieux
We’ve talked about them for a long time, but can we actually build them? What are the challenges?
9:30 Oddities of Animal Transport Plaza 1
Brianne Bilyeu, Jim Tigwell, Siouxsie Wiles
The animal kingdom is nothing if not creative. Explore the weird world of locomotion, from walking cacti to jet powered living fossils, with a panel of scientists and experts.
11:00 Back from the Dead: D&D 5E Atrium 4
Ty Blauersouth, Jim Tigwell, Chris Severin, Kyle Dekker (mod), Cam Banks
Of all the D&D incarnations over the years, have they finally gotten it right with Fifth Edition? Veterans of the D&D universe and newcomers alike are welcome to weigh in!
11:00 Big Data or Big Brother Crowne Plaza U
Desiree Schell (mod), Siouxsie Wiles, Vernon McIntosh, Jamie Bernstein, Jason Thibeault
Can Facebook predict who will become a criminal? Can we use Twitter to foretell the next election results? Does Target know you’re pregnant before you do? What does Big Data truly know and what are the implications of that knowledge?
12:30 The Risk of Going Nowhere Atrium 4
Desiree Schell (mod), Sarah Prentice, Jim Tigwell, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Rebecca Watson
As a safety and headline driven nation, how will we explore dangerous, distant places that are inherently unsafe without losing the public will or disrespecting the lives of those who go?
2:00 Oh, The Humanity Edina
Kelly Jo Ernst, Erich Bacher, Riley Davis, Caroline Symcox (mod), Anna Waltz
Science fiction allows you to explore the human condition under sometimes extraordinary circumstances. How do these tropes bring out both the best and worst in people? What are some powerful examples of how this works?
2:00 Our Place in Space Atrium 4
Emily Finke, Ryan Consell, Kristin Ellis, Nicole Gugliucci (mod), PZ Myers
What are the dreams and practicalities of colonizing space? How might humanity reach beyond our planet? We’ll discuss the science of human spaceflight in reality and fiction.
5:00 Nature of Science Atrium 3
Siouxsie Wiles, Vernon McIntosh, Jim Kakalios, Laura Okagaki-Vraspir (mod), Nicole Gugliucci
Hollywood and other media are still giving us the same tropes of the lone, crazy scientist pursuing science to the destruction of all else. Why won’t this trope die? How is science really done?
5:00 Paper Rocket Races Plaza 2
Beth Voigt, Topher Hunter
Build your own paper rocket while learning about aerodynamics, then race to find the flaws in your design. Edit, update, and race again!
7:00 Mercury 13 Atrium 7
Nicole Gugliucci, Amy Shira Teitel
Thirteen American women, narrowed down from 25, passed the same physical & psychological tests that determined the original Mercury 7 astronauts. However, astronaut training did not follow. Hear the story of these Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs).
7:00 Supergirl Atrium 4
Caroline Symcox (mod), Kavin Senapathy, Dana Baird, Kevin Eldridge, Anne Fry
Society might have collapsed, but people will always find a way to make music. Build and design your own instruments from trash and household items while you learn about the physics that makes them work, then play in our ragtag ensemble.
7:00 Exploring Neurodiversity: The New Frontier Plaza 3
Sarah Ravely, Olivia James, Richard Wielgosz, Emilie Peck, Jess Banks (mod)
Fact: human brains vary widely. Theory: this fact is totally okay. Join us in exploring the variations in the human mind and how “disorders” may just be differences.
8:30 Yes, It’s Impractical, But It Looks Cool Atrium 4
Topher Hunter (mod), Celia Yost, Ryan Consell, Daren Dochterman, Christopher Jones
So many gadgets, set pieces, and art design decisions in film and TV seem to have no purpose beyond looking cool (windows in submarines?!). Let’s discuss examples of form completely overriding function in fiction. When does it work and when does it fail?
8:30 Hell Hath No Fury: Ways to Motivate, Impede, and Change Female Characters Bloomington
Cassandra Phoenix, Steph Montgomery (mod), Amanda Marcotte, Amal El-Mohtar, Rebecca Watson
Women’s sexuality has been used as backstory for far too long. We’ll talk about other ways to flesh out female characters, realistic portrayals of trauma, and the variety of motivations for women, with examples from Furiosa, Jessica Jones, and more.
8:30 Science and Art of Bioluminescence Plaza 2
Siouxsie Wiles
Draw your masterpiece in glowing bacteria! Participants will have the opportunity to create an artwork using glowing bacteria on a petridish. We will then take a photograph of the resulting artwork for participants to download from Flickr.
11:30 Ingress Strategy Atrium 2
Erich Bacher, Benny Vimes, Renate Fiora (mod)
Successful players share their tips and tricks for this popular mobile game.
11:30 Homoeroticism or Misogyny? Atrium 3
Elise Matthesen, Cassandra Phoenix, Jordan West (mod)
You’ve seen the show, there’s two guys, their female love interests have needs and storylines that get pushed aside, because they care about each other that much, that’s what the show is about! Is it exploring masculine love? Or just excluding women?


Saturday, July 2

9:30 Time Travel in Literature Plaza 3
Paul Weimer, phillip andrew bennett low, Scott Jamison (mod), Jim Tigwell, Tyler Tork
Many books include time travel, some more successfully than others. How does time travel affect plot lines and history in different ways in different books? What are some of the more creative uses of time travel and ways around the paradoxes?
9:30 Why YA? Atrium 6
Olivia James, Meredith Gillies, J. Steven Young (mod), Sean Casey, Laura Zats
What’s makes a novel YA? Catcher in the Rye, A Clockwork Orange, and Stephen King’s Carrie all feature teen protagonists and are no more violent than Hunger Games, Twilight or Harry Potter, yet only the latter are considered YA. Why?
9:30 Where’s My Jetpack? Bloomington
Tom Kastan, Ryan Consell, Topher Hunter, Desiree Schell (mod)
Flying Cars? Hoverboards? We?ll look at the predictions for transportation in the past and how they have played out in the present. Plus we’ll look to the exciting near future of getting around.
9:30 Play With Rockets (Safely) Plaza 2
Nicole Gugliucci
Explore rockets using safe physical and chemical reactions! Make little rockets with just water and Alka-seltzer, and see the famous “Coke and Mentos” demonstration. Learn more about how rockets get us where we want to go. Safe and fun for all ages.
11:00 It Takes a Village Moving at 80% the Speed of Light Atrium 3
Cassandra Phoenix, Topher Hunter, Kavin Senapathy, Steph Montgomery (mod), Erich Bacher
How will parenting change aboard your generational colony ship? The values you impart will determine the success or failure of the ship and how society develops once you arrive. What parts of Earth?s culture will you jettison?
11:00 Humans vs. Robots: Who Will Travel the Solar System? Plaza 3
Jim Tigwell, Amy Shira Teitel, Desiree Schell (mod), Nicole Gugliucci, Jason Thibeault
You probably know about DNA, but have you ever seen it? Using household stuff, you’ll be able to extract and observe DNA from strawberries in minutes!
12:30 Gaming With Kids Atrium 4
Michael May, Naomi Kritzer, Erich Bacher, Kerry Peterson, Peter Larsen
Does social media make us monsters or reveal the monsters we already are? Black Mirror explores how we use tech to serve our social and emotional needs, often to horrific ends. How close are we to what we see in the show’s near and distant futures?
12:30 Decolonizing Colonization Plaza 3
Desiree Schell (mod), Cassandra Phoenix, Emily Finke, Celia Yost
Humanity may one day spread its influence beyond our planet. But colonization on Earth has been incredibly problematic, causing oppression and destruction in its wake. Can we colonize space without all the baggage?
2:00 Gasoline Is So Last Century Plaza 1
Benny Vimes, Steven Theiss, Ryan Consell, Nicole Gugliucci, Desiree Schell (mod)
What will the future run on? Will it be solar power, fuel cells, children’s laughter, or unicorn farts? Scientists, engineers and enthusiasts speculate and debate what the future of fuel might look like.
3:30 Are Comics No Longer for Teens? Atrium 4
Michael May (mod), Cassandra Phoenix, Roy T Cook, Sean Casey, Meredith Gillies
The WGN series tells a historical dystopian story in Manh(a)ttan, about the people and events involved in the Manhattan Project. How well did the show blend science, history, and story?
3:30 Your Online Persona Atrium 7
Adam J. Whitlatch, Kavin Senapathy, Melissa Olson, Tanya DePass, Tactical Pinup (mod)
Does your online persona affect your book or art sales? What are some basic principles for creators to craft a persona that is both genuine and audience friendly?
5:00 Teleportation: Science and Social Effects Plaza 1
Lathan Murrell, Ryan Consell, Kristin Ellis (mod), Katie Dahl, Dan Berliner
Teleportation is not as easy as it looks. We?ll discuss the science that would be involved in various theories of teleportation and how it would affect our lives. How would it work? How would it make life easier? More complicated?
5:00 The Tim Hunt Honorable “Women In Science” Presentations Bloomington
Bill Stiteler, Maria Walters, Emily Finke, Nicole Gugliucci
In ?celebration? of the Nobel Prize winner who said women are always falling in love and crying in labs comes this comedic panel about the achievements and complexities of women in science. Women! What are they! Does anyone know!?
7:00 Face Value: The Truth Is Trickier Than You Thought Plaza 1
Siouxsie Wiles, Kavin Senapathy, Brianne Bilyeu (mod), Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Stephanie Zvan
That thing you posted? It’s not real. Why do humans keep believing false things over and over, even though it’s easier than ever to check the facts? We’ll discuss the history and psychology of false beliefs and how they apply to the modern digital era.
7:00 Supernatural Atrium 7
Adam J. Whitlatch, Cassandra Phoenix, Alexandra Howes, Jennifer Lundstrom, Nicole LaBat (mod)
Eleven seasons in, and the world has not ended yet. Should it? Why do you think the show keeps on going?
7:00 Make a Comet! Plaza 2
Nicole Gugliucci
Ever wonder what makes a comet? Make your own! Explore how a comet is formed, learn how it moves through the Solar System, and see pictures of real comets in space. We’ll use dry ice, so adult supervision is requested for young participants.
8:30 Jessica Jones Bloomington
Keane Amdahl (mod), David Schwartz, Olivia James, Grace Ulak, Lyda Morehouse
The Netflix original series presents arguably the most complex, nuanced Marvel character to date in the antihero Jessica Jones. Join us to discuss season 1 of Jessica Jones and what we expect and hope for from season 2.
10:00 Toxic Masculinity as Villain Edina
Cassandra Phoenix, Steph Montgomery, Olivia James, Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson
Masculine tropes are common for heroes, but toxic masculinity is being increasingly explored in villains and antagonists today – Jessica Jones, for example. What is toxic masculinity and how does it lend itself to evil or misguided characters?
11:30 Boss Bitches of Broad City Plaza 3
Jamie Bernstein (mod), Amy Roth, Rebecca Watson
On its surface Broad City seems like merely a buddy comedy with women, but look closer and you’ll find a groundbreaking feminist comedy that shows a side of women’s lives that other shows are afraid to touch. Yas Kween!
11:30 Space Plague and Goblin Pox Edina
Siouxsie Wiles, Brianne Bilyeu (mod), Jon Durmin, Emily Finke, Topher Hunter
Have you ever noticed how the world needs saving every five minutes, but nobody ever seems to get sick? Let’s change that! Join us as we machinate magical maladies, discuss dragon dysentery, and hypothesize a hobbit hantavirus!

Sunday, July 3

11:00 Mega Space Structures Crowne Plaza U
Topher Hunter, Ryan Consell (mod), William Donohue, Nicole Gugliucci, Elle Kennedy Cadieux
What will happen when we build out beyond our planet? This panel will explore space elevators, Dyson spheres, and other non-planetary destinations for life in space.
11:00 Aging and Fandom Atrium 4
Joan Marie Verba, Cassandra Phoenix, David Rust (mod), Emilie Peck, Bess Stuvenoxend
Some people think fandom is only for the young folks. Let’s discuss why this idea is wrong, and where fandom gets better as it ages.
11:00 Reading – Kavin Senapathy 2201
Kavin Senapathy
Kavin Senapathy, Forbes contributor, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, and co-author of the book the natural and organic food industry doesn’t want you to read, will read selected passages from her book, The Fear Babe.